Submissions from Bearspaw residents potentially impacted by a proposed Lehigh Hanson Materials Ltd. aggregate operation are being accepted until Nov. 1 by Rocky View County.
Better known as the Scott Pit to area residents, it's the third time the company has sought approval for a gravel pit. Previous applications were turned down by Rocky View County council in 1994 and 2010.
Lehigh Hanson has applied to redesignate 600 acres at the northwest corner of Burma Road and Rocky Ridge Road, near the west border of the City of Calgary, to establish the aggregate operation.
While it has failed in the past, this time around the company is proposing burrow a conveyor system beneath both 144th Avenue and 85th St. to address the truck traffic issue identifying as a concern in the past.
According to an overview of the proposal, Lehigh Hanson proposes to mine the property over 25 to 30 years in six phases and would limit open excavation to be no more than 60 acres at any point in time.
If approved, the company anticipates commencing site preparation in 2022 with aggregate extraction beginning in 2024.
In the past, it was hotted contested by Bearspaw residents because of its proximity to residential areas. In the last 20 years, the density of residential development has continued to increase.
Janet Ballantyne, of Rocky View Forward, expects there will be even stronger opposition this time around.
"Expectations were that if it wasn't the right place a decade ago or 15 or 20 years ago, how can it possibly be the right place now."
She says residents aren't opposed to gravel operations but question the need for any in close proximity to residential developments.
"People understand that there needs to be gravel, and that gravel is something our society needs. But they also all realize, Rocky View is awash with gravel, so it's not a scarce resource."
She suggests what makes it attractive is its proximity to potential clients in the Calgary area.
Over the years, she explains, more people have developed homes in the area because they believed the proposed gravel pit was a dead issue.
"People look at it and say there's no need to locate gravel pits where the unavoidably negative impacts are going to impact the people you have encouraged to come and live here."
Rocky View County council gave first reading to the bylaw on Oct. 6. A date for a public hearing hasn't been established.
Comments on the proposal need to be sent to Andrea Bryden in Rocky View’s planning department at email@example.com.
Two other applications are ongoing for other new aggregate operations in Rocky View County.
One is an expansion of the existing Burnco operation just west of Cochrane on Hwy. 1A. The other is the expansion of the Summit Pit on Hwy. 567.